In less than a month, Austin is going to be completely transformed into SXSW 2023. The annual nine-day multi-media festival is full of movie screenings, live music, competitions, exhibitions, good eats and drinks, and more. So it’s no surprise that people from all over the country flock to Texas to see what it’s all about.
Because it’s nine days long, figuring out the perfect itinerary, including activities, where to stay, and what to do while in the city, can be tricky. Luckily, Hoken is doing all of the leg work for you and breaking down everything you need to know to tackle South by Southwest 2023.
What is SXSW 2023 (South by Southwest)?
South by Southwest, aka SXSW, is one of Austin’s most popular events, bringing thousands of people to the city every year. This year, from March 10th through the 19th, there will be live music, panels, movie premiers, and everything in between. It’s so big, in fact, that it takes up most of the city. In order to attend, you need to purchase a badge or wristband. However, there are some free events too.
To see all of the pricing and different early-bird ticket options, you can check out the website here. Just be mindful that when buying tickets, you’re doing so when the lineup is likely unannounced. The lineup is typically not announced until the weekend before. Don’t let this deter you, though, because it is absolutely worth checking out regardless.
SXSW 2023 Tips
Explore The SXSW Website
Before you embark on the 10-day journey that is South by Southwest, we recommend doing your research. Chances are, if you’ve ended up on this blog, you already are. Along with the blog, we suggest checking out the official SXSW website. It’s full of peeks at the lineups, exhibitions, news, and more. It’s a great resource when you’re trying to map out your days–especially if you’re aiming to get into free events or snag some free food and drinks.
Stay Near Downtown Or Uber
If you choose to stay at a hotel near downtown, you can take advantage of the scooters that are all over the city. This is not only the cheapest option, but it also helps you avoid traffic. It’s not the only option, though. Austin does have a public bus that is easy to use, or you can take an Uber or Lyft as needed. Because parking is going to be harder to come across, if driving, give yourself ample time to find a spot and put some money aside for parking fees. To make parking a little easier, you can check out this map of paid parking throughout the city. However, there will be quite a few road closures, so getting around is tricky, to say the least.
Although you’re going to want to show off your style at SXSW, it’s also important to wear comfortable things. You’re going to be doing a lot of walking every day, and the weather in Austin can be unpredictable, so opt for shoes that won’t give you blisters and layers that you can add or remove depending on how hot or cool it is.
You’re also going to want to bring a portable phone charger. No one likes getting stuck without a dead phone, especially if you need to text or call your friends or get an Uber. And, of course, always ensure you have plenty of water and try to stay as hydrated as possible throughout the day.
Best Hotels In Austin, Texas
Hotel ZaZa Austin
Located in the heart of downtown Austin, Hotel ZaZa is a stylish and modern luxury hotel that offers unparalleled comfort, style, and convenience. There are 159 gorgeous rooms, all offering different design concepts. From rooms inspired by the Texas countryside to a suite fit for rockstars, there’s something for everyone. And don’t forget to check out their dining options, Perfect Strangers and Group Therapy.
Colton House Hotel
Colton House Hotel–a brand-new boutique on South Congress–offers 80 large custom suites, a large, spacious lobby, a coffee and wine bar that is the perfect place to get some work done, an outdoor patio, and a pool where you can sit back and relax after a busy day of exploring the city.
Archer Hotel Austin
Situated in one of Austin’s hottest neighborhoods–the Domaine–Archer Hotel sits right in the middle of the city’s fashion and dining hub. Using Texas limestone, Hill Country wildflowers, and the creative soul of Austin, the hotel is the perfect mix of Southern and chic. It has complimentary Wi-Fi, a sun-up-to-sun-down gathering spot with drinks and food, a Lonestar-adorned patio pool, and more. Oh, and it’s pet-friendly, so you can bring your pooch along for your adventures.
Residence Inn Austin Downtown
For those looking for a place to stay that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles (while still being luxurious), look no further than the Residence Inn Austin Downtown by Marriott. The rooms offer convenient amenities such as fully equipped kitchens and flat-screen TVs. There’s also complimentary breakfast, so you can kickstart your long days with some food and caffeine.
Take relaxation to a whole new level at the ARRIVE Austin. With Brookelinen sheets, plush robes, Turkish towels, and delicious room service options, it’s going to be hard to leave your room once you’re checked in. But, of course, you should explore all things SXSW. And to try Vixen’s Wedding and Gin Bar, the hotel’s two hottest eating and drinking spots.
Fun Things To Do In Austin, Texas
Soak Up The Food & Drink Scene
It’s no secret that Austin has one of the country’s hottest culinary and bar scenes, so you should plan on eating and drinking well the entire time you’re there. Austin is known for its vibrant food and drink scene, and it’s an experience you shouldn’t miss during your trip. There are so many incredible restaurants to choose from that it’s easy to run out of time before you get to try them all. From Garrison to La Barbecue to Justine’s to Elizabeth Street Cafe, you’re going to want to stay hungry. In fact, chances are you’re going to run out of time before you get to try the restaurants on your long list. If you really want to make a day of it, head to 6th Street, one of Austin’s most popular neighborhoods with countless bar and restaurant options. Whether you’re in the mood for BBQ, Tex-Mex, or something more upscale, Austin has something to satisfy every palate.
Kayak Or Paddle Board Lady Bird Lake
If you want to experience Austin’s natural beauty, head to Lady Bird Lake to take in incredible views of the city. Bring a six-pack and make a day of it, but keep in mind that swimming is not allowed. From kayaking and paddleboarding to fishing and biking, there are plenty of recreational opportunities to keep you busy. The lake is surrounded by lush parks and trails, making it an ideal spot for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. And with its stunning views of the city skyline, it’s a great way to experience the best of both worlds: the vibrant culture of Austin and the tranquility of nature. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or simply looking for a beautiful spot to relax and unwind, Lady Bird Lake is definitely worth a visit.
Head To Barton Springs
If you’re dying for a swim, skip Lady Bird Lake and make your way to Barton Springs. Located in Zilker Park’s 358 acres lies a popular hot spot, a natural oasis in the heart of Austin. The three-acre pool is fed by underground springs, and the water stays at a refreshing 68-70 degrees year-round. It’s a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and people-watching, and it’s surrounded by lush greenery and scenic trails. With nearly 800,000 visitors each year, it’s clear that Barton Springs is one of Austin’s most beloved attractions. Whether you’re looking to cool off on a hot summer day or simply enjoy a peaceful afternoon in nature, Barton Springs is the perfect place to do it.
Tube Down San Marcos River
If the city becomes too much for you and you’re ready to take a break under the sun, drive 35 minutes south to the San Marcos River for a day of tubing. The water stays 72° year round, making it the ideal place to beat the heat. Slather on some sunscreen, pack your favorite beer, and hit the waters for a float down the crystal clear waters. The river is surrounded by picturesque scenery and lush greenery, providing a serene environment for a relaxing float. Grab your sunscreen, your favorite drink, and spend a day lazily drifting down the river, taking in the natural beauty around you. Tubing down San Marcos River is an unforgettable experience that combines outdoor recreation, natural beauty, and a laid-back atmosphere, making it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Austin.
Explore South Congress
South Congress is one of Austin’s most popular neighborhoods, and it’s not hard to see why. With endless coffee shops, cocktail bars, restaurants, shops, chic hotels, and live music, it’s hard to run out of things to do. It’s a great place to soak up Austin’s famous music scene, sample delicious Tex-Mex cuisine, and browse local art galleries and vintage shops. Whether you’re looking for a night out on the town or a leisurely afternoon stroll, South Congress is the perfect destination. With its colorful character and endless array of attractions, South Congress is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who visits.
Ready To Explore To Texas? Hoken Has You Covered
If you’re ready to take on SXSW 2023, Hoken can help you find the perfect hotel for you. Click here or simply scroll down to the ‘Featured Events’ section, find SXSW, and search through some of Austin’s hottest hotels.
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